NI Player Watch
Northern Ireland skipper Steven Davis came off the bench at the weekend to score his first goal of the season as Rangers coasted to a 4-0 Premiership win over Ross County at Ibrox.
The 37-year-old, who has now played more than 350 games for the Glasgow outfit, completed the scoring for Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side when he swept home a James Tavernier cross side just seven minutes after entering the action.
Also chalking up his first goals of the season was striker Will Grigg whose first-half double helped MK Dons to a 4-0 away success at Morecambe in League One.
Grigg, who re-joined MK Dons from Sunderland in the summer, said he is now enjoying his football again after an injury ridden two-and-a-half years.
“On a personal level to get my first goals is fantastic, they pretty much sum up most of the goals in my career, 5/6 yards out, but the deliveries are perfect and I just have to do the easy bit of putting them in the net.”
Liam Boyce also got off the mark as Hearts defeated St Johnstone 3-2 at Tynecastle but the former Cliftonville player's afternoon was ended on the stroke of half-time when he was stretchered off after sustaining what looked like a serious knee injury.
Hearts boss Robbie Neilson is now awaiting the result of a scan to determine the extent of the injury.
“We are speculating on what it could be,” he told the Hearts website. “Liam felt pain in his knee but the good thing for me is he is walking about on crutches so fingers crossed it’s not as bad as first feared.
“For any player, particularly Liam having had that injury before on his other knee, then you fear the worst. But as I said we are just speculating and he will get it scanned and it could just be jarring. We just have to hope it’s fine.”
Paddy Lane / Paul Smyth
In League One Paddy Lane returned from his three-game suspension to find the net in Fleetwood Town’s 2-2 draw at Lincoln City and former Linfield forward Paul Smyth hit his second of the campaign as Leyton Orient won 4-2 at home to lowly Hartlepool United in League Two.
Meanwhile, newly-promoted Southampton Women picked up their first point of the new season thanks to Laura Rafferty’s sublime lob which gave them a 2-2 draw at Lewes who had Rebecca McKenna, Ellie Mason and Nat Johnson in their starting line-up.
Speaking to the Southampton website, Rafferty said: “I never say I’m going to score and last night I said I was going to score and I think that is just like the mindset!
‘We’ve got a fantastic squad of players, like I said whether it’s players on the pitch or on the bench, ready to come on we know we have the depth to really succeed this season.”
Elsewhere, Northern Ireland’s younger players certainly had their shooting boots on over the weekend in the youth leagues across England and Scotland.
Former Linfield striker Callum Marshall made in six goals in just three games as he hit a brace for West Ham United U18s in their 5-4 victory at Fulham, while midfielder Patrick Kelly also weighed in with an assist for the Hammers. Another former Blues player, Josh Briggs (below), came off the bench to make his debut.
Aston Villa striker Omari Kellyman was among the scorers in his side’s 5-2 U18 Premier League victory over Brighton while U19 international Reece Evans was on target for Leicester City in their 2-2 draw at Norwich City.
Midfielder Caolan Boyd-Munce scored and contributed two assists in Middlesbrough’s win over Stoke City in the U21 Premier League and Isaac Price also found the net in Everton’s win at West Ham United.
Finally, 19-year-old Ross McCausland registered his second of the new campaign as he scored the winner for Rangers ‘B’ in their Lowland League encounter with Stirling University.